A woman is sheltering 97 rescue dogs in her home as Hurricane Dorian sweeps through the Bahamas.
Chella Phillips, of Nassau, has helped save nearly 1,000 homeless dogs over the past four years as manager of The Voiceless Dogs of Nassau, Bahamas.
But her experience over the past few days during one of the most powerful storms to ever hit the Bahamas has been “insane.”
Chella first wrote on her Facebook page as of Sunday September 1, 2019, that she “has 97 dogs are inside my house and 79 of them are inside my master bedroom.”
She continued to describe the situation, “It has been insane since last night, poop and piss non stop but at least they are respecting my bed and nobody has dared to jump in. We have barricaded the refuge and nobody is outside, the music is playing in all directions of the house and the AC is blowing for them.”
Thanks to her supporters she could house more dogs. “I managed to bring some less fortunate ones and I really appreciate some of you donating for crates…I really needed it for the scared ones and the sick ones.”
She noted that the storm may not have hit her part of the island as hard as other islands, but she knew she couldn’t leave the dogs outside to fend for themselves.
“It was either leave the dogs on the street to fend for themselves…or do something about it,” said Phillips on a phone interview with ABC News. “I just want these dogs to be safe. I could care less about the dog poop and pee in my house.”
As much as the dogs soiled her house, all the dogs were on their best behavior. She posted an update on Facebook writing, “everyone here gets along and welcome the newcomers with tail wags ’cause they know they are their brothers and sisters in suffering on the streets. They are not like the selfish humans that mistreated and abused them or simply passed them by and let them to die on the streets.”
Although she had the 97 dogs in close confines she was still heartbroken that she had to leave so many on the streets because she did not have any more room to bring them in.
On Monday morning Chella updated everyone on how they managed the night of the storm:
“We are alright after a stressful night were we flooded bad inside the refuge, not even 3 pumps could contain the rain from washing us inside and after an hour all 3 pumps reheated and burned down and we have been outside with buckets fighting a losing battle.
“All services are down, all TVs are fried from the lightnings so no more cartoons for the sick dogs until we can purchase new ones.
“My brother slept an hour, I had been on my feet without any sleep drying the house and looking after my terrified dogs.
I pray for the other islands who have unimaginable damages and I don’t see how any dogs or any living being could have survived outside. My heart goes out to them.”
Since her initial Facebook post, Chella has received an outpouring of support. A fundraising initiative has exceeded its $20,000 goal by five times.
One of her supporters, Wilma Brown Johnson, wrote of Chella: “I have followed this earth angel for so long and all the work she does and lives she saves and the toll it takes on her tugs at my heart strings everyday. To see so many respond to help her after all the struggles she endures of trying to just get food has covered my soul with joy. Thank you to so many who has helped her. She is most deserving. She loves beyond her street dogs. Chella I’m just overwhelmed with happiness for you that finally you and your babies are getting much needed help.”
For Chella, her focus is on weathering the storm and finding families for the homeless dogs she looks after. “Each of my babies deserve to have loving homes, so please, I am begging for rescues to help them!”
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